Synopses & Reviews
It was only in the mid 1960s that the first road between India and Bhutan was opened. And only since 1974 have a small number of tourists been permitted to visit the kingdom every year.
In Hidden Bhutan Martin Uitz, a renowned authority on the country, is able to explain why the only traffic light in this hidden Kingdom was taken out of service, why six men are not allowed to go on a journey together, and what the subtle eroticism of a traditional hot-stone bath is all about. He looked closely at traditions, religion, and the recent transition to democracy, discovering along the way that the Bhutanese hills are more alive with Edelweiss than those that surround his native Salzburg.
Whether planning a visit to Bhutan or simply interested in its people and customs, Uitz's infectious enthusiasm and deep affection for this country emanate from the page. His writing is beautifully descriptive and overflowing with the insights and meanderings that guidebooks ordinarily omit. Written with a deep understanding of Bhutan's intricate society, religion, and customs, Uitz's dry, witty humour gives the narrative a subtle poignancy. A perfect book for those wanting to understand how Bhutan's history, recent democratic change, and its drive to become the world's first smoking-free nation have shaped the enigmatic Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon.
Martin Utiz died trekking in the Nepalese Himalayas in 2007. He was fifty-four years old.
A travelogue that explores the life and land of a kingdom still largely concealed from the outside world
In 2006 Time magazine listed the King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, as one of the 100 "leaders and revolutionaries" who are changing our world today. Yet it was only in the 1960s that the first road linking the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon with India was opened, and since 1974 only a strictly limited number of tourists have been allowed to visit each year. Martin Uitz, a renowned expert on Bhutan, describes how the Bhutanese, in pursuit of the principle of "Gross National Happiness", are carefully moving towards a more modern future, including a constitution and democracy, whilst preserving their traditional society and attempting to conserve the environment. Uitz made many fascinating discoveries in this enigmatic Kingdom. He was able to explain why the only traffic light was taken out of service, why six men are not allowed to go on a journey together, and what the subtle eroticism of a traditional hot-stone bath is all about. Along the way he also discovered that the Bhutanese hills are more alive with Edelweiss than the hills around his native Salzburg.
About the Author
Uitz Martin (1952-2007), traveled to the most remote areas of the Himalayas from the early 1970s. After two decades spent as a tour operator and tourism advisor with the Austrian Development Cooperation of Bhutan, and then lived as a freelance writer in the Kingdom until his death.